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Full text of "Mathura A District Memoir"

104           "     "        HWZN TEMH^S DlSCKimON 0? MATHUB X

gome 200 years later, H^sn Ihsasg) mother pilgrim from the Mowery
Land, was impelled by like religious zeal to spend sixteen years, from 629 to
645 A.D., travelling throughout India.   Oa his return to China, he compiled^
by special command of the Emperor, a work in twelve Books entitled ' Memoirs
of Western Countries,' giving succinct geographical descriptions of all the
kingdoms, amounting in number to 128, that he had either personally visited,
or of which he had been able to acquire authentic information.   After his death,
two of Ms disciples, wishing to individualize the record of their master's adven-
tures, compiled in ten Books a special narrative of his life and Indian travels.
This has been translated into French by the great Orientalist, Mons, S. Julien.
Mathura is described as being 20 li, or four miles in circumference, and as con-
taining still, as in the days of Fa Hian, 20 monasteries.   But the number of
resident monks had been reduced to 2,000, and five temples had been erected to
Brahmanica! divinities ; both facts indicating the gradual decline of Buddhism.
There were three ttupas, built by King Asoka, and many spots were shown
wheie the four former Bnddhas had left the marks of their feet    Several other
stupas were reverenced as containing relics of the holy disciples of Sakya Muni,
viz.y S&ri-putra, Mudgalayana, Purna-maitr&yani-putra, Upali, Ananda, BahnJa,
Manjnsri, and other BodM-satwas.   Every year (he writes) in the months of
the three long fasts (the first, fifth, aad ninth) and on the six monthly fasts the
religions assemble in crowds at these stupas^ and make their several offerings
at the one which is the object of their devotion.    The followers of Abhi-dharraa
offer to S&ri-piitra, and those who practise contemplation (dhydna) to Mudgal-
ayana,  -Those who adhere to the Sutras  pay their homage to Piirna-maitra-
yani-putm ; those who study the Yinaya honour Upali ; religious women
honour Ananda ; those who have not yet been fully instructed (catechumens)
honour Bahula ; those who study the Maha-yana fionour all the Bodhi-satwas.*
Banners enriched with pearls float in the air^ and gorgeous umbrellas are
grouped in procession.   Clouds of incense and constant showers of flowers
obscure the sight of the sun and moon.    The king and his ministers apply
themselves with, zeal to- the practice of meritorious works.   Five or six li — i<e.9
about a mile and a quarter ~~ to the east of the town is a monastery on a hill,
the sides of which have been excavated to allow of the eons true tion of ceils*
The approach is by a ravine.   It is said to have "been built by the venerable'
Upagnpia.   In its centre may be seen a stvpa which encloses some nail-panngs
* A Bodhi-wtwa i» deftied M & being who has art ired at sapwms wisdom {bodki)^ and yet
contents to remain m & cfmtoie (wtoo) for the good of mm